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PLAN Z-18F Helicopter in ASW Configuration With Two Torpedoes Spotted for the 1st Time in China
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PLAN Z 18F Helicopter ASW Yu 7K China 1
Based on pictures that have just been released by Chinese spotters, it appears that the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN or Chinese Navy) or Changhe Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) was test flying a Z-18F Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) helicopter with two torpedoes for the first time.
 
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Naval Aviation News - China
 
 
 
PLAN Z-18F Helicopter in ASW Configuration With Two Torpedoes Spotted for the 1st Time in China
 
Based on pictures that have just been released by Chinese spotters, it appears that the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN or Chinese Navy) or Changhe Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) was test flying a Z-18F Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) helicopter with two torpedoes for the first time.
     
PLAN Z 18F Helicopter ASW Yu 7K China 1The Z-18F "Sea Eagle" maritime helicopter of the PLAN spotted with 2x Yu-7K lightweight torpedoes for the first time.
     
The torpedoes are of Yu-7K type, a lightweight torpedo. They reportedly have a speed of 40 knots and range of 14 km. The torpedo is reported to weigh 235 kg with a warhead of 45 kg. Some sources indicate that the Z-18F was previously showcased with 4x torpedoes of this type, during an airshow. This remains to be confirmed however.

In addition to the torpedoes, the recent pictures offer interesting views of some of the details of the new generation helicopter: The large opening at the center under the fuselage is likely for a dipping sonar. At the rear of the fuselage there are 30 openings to drop sonobuoys (compared to 25 on SH-60 or MH-60)

Under the nose, there is a large radar dome in a circular shape likely offering 360 degrees coverage. The designation is still unknown. For comparison, the Z-9C's (a much lighter helicopter) radar is called ZLC-1 and has a range of 150 Km over 120 degrees. On the side of the fuselage, the Z-18F is fitted with an electro-optic/infra-red sensor as well. Likewise, the designation is unknown at this time, but the maker is likely AVIC and the gimbal is probably from the "LE" Loong EYE series.
     
PLAN Z 18F Helicopter ASW Yu 7K China 2The Z-18F "Sea Eagle" has 30x openings to release sonobuoys
     
The Z-18 is a new generation military transport helicopter from China. It was developed by Changhe Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) and is reportedly based on the civilian Avicopter AC313 (Harbin Z-8) itself based on the 1960ies Aerospatiale SA321 Super Frelon.

The maritime variant is designated Z-18F "Sea Eagle" and will be capable of ASW missions (with Yu-7K lightweight torpedoes) as well as anti-surface warfare (ASuW) missions with YJ-9 anti-ship missiles.

Note that half of the helicopter wing aboard the PLAN aircraft carrier Liaoning is composed of Z-18F. The typical airwing of the Liaoning being 4x Z-18Js early warning helicopters, 6x Z-18Fs anti-submarine helicopters, 2x Z-9Cs search and rescue helicopters and 24 J-15s carrier-based fighter jets.
     
PLAN Z 18F Helicopter ASW Yu 7K China 3The Z-18F "Sea Eagle" maritime helicopter of the PLAN spotted with 2x Yu-7K lightweight torpedoes for the first time.